There are a lot of theories and formulas out there that tell you how to plan and execute a successful career.
But if you talk to the real achievers, those who have dramatically increased their professional standings and earnings, there are two – that is all, exactly two – career secrets that ultra successful people know help them get ahead.
Remember these tips, and think about how you can implement them to advance your own goals:
You Are Solely Responsible for Your Professional Metrics
Only you know, at the micro-level, all of the various ways you have performed against expectations, goals, and organizational needs. Whether you get an annual performance review or not, everyone (yes, EVERYONE) should create their own job performance benchmarks.
Successful people know how important performance metrics are to their career. And they diligently track them.
So don’t fall into the false thinking that a supervisor is intimately in tune with every single positive contribution that you’ve made. That’s horse manure. The boss has other people and responsibilities to manage that prevent them from knowing all of those details.
Once you have a fair understanding of what your job is all about, draft out a metric template that you can use that shows how you move the needle in contributing to the company. What efficiencies have you helped build? How have you helped the company make money? What money-savings have you captured?
Successful people know that by showing and connecting how their work contributes to a company’s bottom line therefore increases their value to the organization, both internally, but also as a potential “catch” for another business.
You Are Solely Responsible for Your Own Professional Development
You’ve heard the phrase: “Never stop learning.”
These words take on critical importance in your career, because employers hire subject matter experts to make their company immediately more competitive. Yet, far too many times, I hear résumé clients say, “Well, I didn’t take any classes, go to any conferences, or pursue any certifications because my company wouldn’t pay for them.”
That is a huge failure. Not so much on the part of the company, but on the job seeker.
Why are you letting your own marketability rest on whether an employer decides to invest in your professional development? Why aren’t you doing it… for you?
Only you are in charge of your career. No one else. While we may maintain great relationships with our employers, at the end of the day, the bosses ultimately will land on the side of the company which is an organization that needs to stay in business. You are the collateral, and therefore expendable. Or at the very least, the last place where they will invest when money is tight.
Successful people don’t let lack of employer investment in professional development – in your career – like conferences, workshops, seminars, conventions, webinars, classes, and relevant industry certifications hold them back.
Successful people invest in themselves.
Gaining a skill or knowledge set is something you can take with you anywhere you go. It can open doors to your employment opportunities, and remove barriers by addressing skill set liabilities. So don’t take the B.S. route out by saying that because the company won’t pay for you to attend a conference, you didn’t go.
Successful people take a vacation day on their dime, go to the educational session, then slip back into work, while making plans for their next career step, knowing that they are building the best set of qualifications possible.
Want to be one of those successful people in your career?
Take these tips and implement them into your work to achieve your career aspirations.
Because no one else will.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Pathfinder Writing and Career Services!
About the Author: Dawn Rasmussen, CMP is President of Pathfinder Writing and Career Services, a provider of results-oriented résumé, cover letter, and job search coaching services. Dawn is also the official “Get the Job” columnist for One+ Magazine distributed to over 26,000 meeting professionals worldwide and Talentzoo.com, a job resource site for creative and marketing professionals. Dawn is also a recognized career expert on Careerealism.com – a top 10 world-ranked career advice blog – and a regular contributor to TalentCulture.com’s #TChat. Follow Dawn on Twitter!